The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced this week a new proposal to update safety standards for sunscreen ingredients and marketing.
The updated rules that are being considered would cover sun protection factors or SPF, the amount people apply and broad-spectrum requirements.
Dr. Seth B. Forman, dermatologist and Chief Executive Office of the ForCare Medical Group, said he’s hoping people don’t steer clear of sunscreen because of the discussion underway.
“The real danger is that once the regulations come out, if they do come out, that it will scare people from using all sunscreens,” he said.
Under the proposal, sunscreens sold as sprays, oils, lotions, creams, gels, butters, and pastes would continue to be marketed without new drug approvals, as they are generally recognized as safe and effective.
Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, common ingredients people often look for in their sunscreen, are the only two of 16 active ingredients considered safe, according to the FDA.
Two other ingredients that are being reviewed by the FDA, para-aminobenzoic acid and trolamine salicylate, are not generally recognized as safe.
The proposed FDA regulation says it would also affect product labeling. Products with an SPF of 15 or greater would be required to offer broad-spectrum protection against harmful rays associated with skin cancer.
Forman said there are better options for protection against the sun than sunscreen, including clothing.
“I think perhaps that's what these regulations may cause: the tide turned towards people wearing protective clothing instead of relying only on sunscreen,” said Forman. “Clothing is better than sunscreen because it doesn’t get wiped off. It doesn’t get sweated off. It doesn’t get washed off from water sports.”